So it seems like everyone is making homemade hamburger patties for Memorial Day. I've decided to make something that's a little less common... Buns! In my opinion, they take the hamburgers to a completely new level. Soft, fresh, with loads of flavor- these babies are wonderful!
I've become more comfortable with yeast doughs over the last year or so, and if you have the time they are definitely worth the effort. Fresh bread is delicious and it's wonderful knowing exactly what goes into them. If you have organic ingredients it's even better, but those can be difficult to come by here in Okinawa. These pictures speak for themselves, so I will leave you with drooling eyes for these lovelies.
Soft White Hamburger BunsAdapted from Peter Reinhart's recipe, as seen on Cooklikeachampion
4 3/4 cups (21.5 ounces) unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (.38 ounce) salt
1/4 cup (1.33 ounces) powdered milk
3 1/4 tablespoons (1.66 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons (.22 ounce) instant yeast
1 large (1.65 ounces) egg
3 1/4 tablespoons (1.66 ounces) butter, melted or at room temperature
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon to 1 3/4 cups (13 to 14 ounces) water, at room temperature
1 egg, whisked with 1 tablespoon water until frothy, for egg wash
Sesame or poppy seeds, for garnish (optional)
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a 4-quart mixing bowl, stir together flour, salt, powdered milk, sugar and yeast. Add the egg, butter and 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon water. Stir or mix on low speed until the ingredients form a ball. If the dough is too stiff, very slowly add more water until the dough feels soft and supple.
Switch to the dough hook and knead at medium speed for about 6 minutes. Alternately, sprinkle a work surface with flour and knead for about 8 minutes, adding more flour if needed. The dough should be tacky but not sticky and register 80ºF. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to it, turning to coat the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
Remove the dough and divide it into twelve 3-ounce pieces. Form each piece into a ball by stretching the outside of the dough and pinching underneath to seal it. This will help increase the surface tension on the top of the buns and hide any seams on the bottom. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes. After the rest, gently press down on each ball to form the buns. Transfer the buns to a parchment lined sheet pan and lightly spray them with oil. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and proof at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the dough has nearly doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Brush the buns with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds as desired. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the buns are golden brown and reach 180ºF in the center. Cool buns for at least 15 minutes on a wire rack before serving.